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27 Oct, 2023 11:58

Ukrainian attack on Russian nuclear facility thwarted – officials

As many as three drones were reportedly intercepted while targeting the Kursk power plant
Ukrainian attack on Russian nuclear facility thwarted – officials

A Ukrainian attack involving multiple drones has been stopped in the Russian city of Kurchatov, home to the Kursk nuclear power plant, according to civilian and military officials. Unconfirmed reports claimed that one of the aircraft damaged a nuclear waste storage building at the site.

The spree of incidents happened on Thursday evening in Kursk Region, which borders Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry reported intercepting a fixed-wing drone over Russian territory on two occasions, about two hours apart, while the power plant’s press service said it was attacked by three enemy drones. Kurchatov is located some 60 km from the Ukrainian border.

The statement by the civilian authorities reported no damage or casualties on the ground, and said all four units of the facility were operating normally. Three of them are currently online, while one is undergoing a shutdown procedure ahead of being decommissioned, it said. The oldest reactor, which first went operational in 1976, has not been generating power since late 2021.

The news outlet SHOT claimed that the incident was more serious than according to official statements, reporting that the third drone “fell next to a nuclear waste storage and blew up.” The report said the blast caused minor damage to the infrastructure but didn’t hurt anyone.

Another drone incident in Kurchatov that may have been an attempted attack on the plant was previously reported in mid-July. An unmanned aerial vehicle, which was described as home-made and fitted with a Taiwan-manufactured jet engine, exploded several kilometers away from the nuclear site, media reported at the time.

Moscow has accused Kiev of launching multiple attempts to sabotage its crucial energy infrastructure, including nuclear power plants, amid ongoing Russian-Ukrainian hostilities.

Earlier this month, the chief of Ukrainian military intelligence, Kirill Budanov, confirmed three failed commando raids on Energodar, the city where the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant is located.

Energodar is located in the Zaporozhye region, which joined Russia last year after people living there voted for the move in a referendum. Ukraine has dismissed the vote as a “scam,” and Kiev partially controls the contested territory.

The Zaporozhye plant hosts a monitoring mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog. It was stationed there last year, amid a string of drone and shelling attacks, which Moscow and Kiev blamed on each other.

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